When a rival to your startup is the new industry darling


Editor’s Observe: Every week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will provide candid, sensible, and typically stunning recommendation to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a query, write to Webb at [email protected].

Q. My firm is doing nicely, however a competitor simply raised a larger spherical and received a larger buyer—they appear to be the new darling. Ought to I be frightened?

 – Founding father of a profitable Sequence B firm


Pricey Founder,

Possibly you ought to be frightened, however I’m a fan of worrying about what you’ll be able to management as opposed to fretting over what you can’t. I additionally imagine that you’ve far more in your management than not.

You do have to watch the competitors, however you’ll be able to’t be too affected by issues they’re doing. If we focus an excessive amount of on the competitors, we lose sight of the place we’re going. It’s onerous to run up the stairs when you’re at all times wanting proper and left, and at who’s developing behind you. And, it’s not at all times as necessary as you may assume. It is necessary for you to keep grounded in your imaginative and prescient or technique.

What you are able to do is deal with what is in your management. If issues are good, ask your self what you are able to do to make them nice. The best way to try this is to get an sincere take a look at the place you’re after which take a look at the place you’re going—and the place you need to be going. Then you’ll have to be sure to can get there. I don’t need to go away you in a puddle, however all of us want to know the place we’re in the world and what we are able to do to get higher. Be actual. The place do you stack up and what’s going to it take to enhance?

I believe it is likely to be useful to shift your mindset and see competitors nearly as good—not unhealthy. When you fear an excessive amount of about what you’re up towards you’d by no means begin one thing new. We’d nonetheless purchase tickets by way of journey brokers as a substitute of on-line, we’d use taxis as a substitute of Uber and Lyft and there can be no Fb, solely a failed Friendster. Competitors—whether or not competing towards one other firm or the established order—is what evolves outdated concepts, evokes new ones, and makes the world work higher.

Finally, you’re your most necessary competitors. If you don’t construct a services or products of relevance, it actually doesn’t matter what your competitors does. As Michael Jordan mentioned, “you might have competitors day by day since you set such excessive requirements for your self that you’ve to exit day by day and dwell up to that.” That is how he acquired to be the best basketball participant of all time—and it’s actually the secret for anybody to succeed. Don’t be frightened about what others are doing—let it encourage you to up your sport.